SUMMER STEM 2020 PROJECTS

NOTE: Classes will operate if a minimum class size is reached. Our intent is to admit students into their highest-ranked course selection.  Historically, at least 75% of admitted students receive their first choice. Course popularity and class size constraints will determine final placement.  Select two projects when applying.

Human Centered Design in the Makerspace
(9th grade only)

Austin Wong

The Makerspace students learn and expand their skills in human-centered design, including ideation, design, prototyping, testing, refining, and documentation. Students are tasked to envision a product which can solve the problems of potential users in mind, research the various ways the world has addressed these problems in the past, develop alternative solutions to the problems, and then start prototyping solutions. Students will learn to use Computer aided engineering tools (such as CAD software, microcontrollers, computer programming languages, and computer science) as well as rapid prototyping machines (laser-cutter, 3D printers, shop tools, etc). Students form teams to design and build a product prototype that they will present and exhibit on the final day.

Race car Design through Engineering Experimentation
(10th and 11th grade)

Estuardo Rodas,The Formula SAE Team

In this class students explore car design while working on The Cooper Union Formula SAE race car. Students will have the opportunity to explore design considerations, such as hardware/software selection or system level integration, to help connect theoretical foundations with application.  Students will be divided into teams and rotate through a series of experiments that relate to the car design and function. They explore the fundamentals of mechanical measurement, report-writing, and graphical presentation of data. A team-based research project will then be selected by the student teams which will require the students to design, build, and test systems for the race car.

Transportation infrastructure of New York City
(10th and 11th grade)

Prof. Vito Guido and a Cooper Union student instructor, Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is made up of many diverse fields. Among these are the design and construction of buildings and transportation infrastructure such as airports, train stations, tunnels and bridges. New York City is the home of many iconic bridges such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, George Washington Bridge and Verrazano Bridge. These bridges are the lifeline of New York City.  Students will learn concepts needed to design, build and maintain bridges ranging from material to structural engineering. Whether mixing and testing concrete cylinders and beams to failure, preparing both architectural and engineering drawings using computer aided design or building and testing models of bridges, students will be learning tools for modeling (both mathematical and physical), drawing for engineering, experimenting and presenting work. 

Digital Electronics for the Inventor 
(10th and 11th grade)

Prof. Lisa Shay and a Cooper Union student instructor, Electrical Engineering 

This hands-on course challenges students to assess, design, build, test, and demonstrate an electronics project from scratch.  Topics covered include digital logic design, circuit theory, programmable devices, and basic microelectronics. Students will engage in guided exercises and small-scale projects to put theory into practice. Student work culminates with an original design they create in small teams.  Through the team projects, students will develop skills in project management, prototyping, protocol and functional testing, quality assurance, and device deployment. It is recommended that students requesting this course have beginner electronics and/or programming experience.

Developing Alternative Fuels to Help Solve the Global Energy Crisis
(10th and 11th grade)

Prof. Daniel Lepek and Prof. Jennifer Weiser, Chemical Engineering

This summer research opportunity provides an introduction to the field of chemical engineering and how it impacts the world-wide issues of renewable and sustainable energy.  By learning about the basic concepts of chemical engineering through lectures and hands-on laboratory activities, students will be able to apply their knowledge to create their own biofuels from materials commonly found throughout New York City.  Furthermore, this research opportunity will enrich the students’ fundamental understanding of science, math, and computational skills. Students will become knowledgeable and informed of important economic and environmental issues related to energy, climate change, and other engineering challenges.

Biotech for Good: Isolating plastic eating microbes for bioremediation of waste  
(10th and 11th grade)

Dr. Radmila Janjusevic and Prof. Oliver Medvedik, Biomedical Engineering

Non-biodegradable plastic waste on land and in the oceans poses a huge threat to global ecosystems. Working in teams, students will be tasked to devise methods by which microbes can be identified and isolated from environments that have a high likelihood of having selected for species of bacteria that can break down artificial plastics, such as polyethylene. These environments may include the guts of particular insects, such as waxworm larvae, as well as soil dwelling microbes. We will use the equipment and resources at the Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering (PCR machines, bacterial incubators, gel electrophoresis, centrifuges, etc.) to then cultivate each microbe and prepare DNA for sequence analysis. Students will then, with the help of mentors, develop experimental protocols that will help identify which microbes are capable of breaking down artificial plastics. Student teams will also focus on incorporating their discoveries within the framework of a biotech startup, ie, after identifying promising microbes, what would be the next steps to optimize the genetic pathways using the tools of synthetic biology.

Sustainable Energy and Green Technology 
(10th and 11th grade)

Prof. Robert Dell and a Cooper Union student instructor,The Laboratory for Energy Reclamation and Innovation

Students explore and develop novel technologies for underutilized energy sources. Students will both methods and theories for harvesting green energy while becoming familiar with basic heat transfer, thermodynamics, energy measurement, data collection, and infrared thermal imaging. 3-D computer modeling skills including Solidworks will be taught and used in addition to traditional mathematical analysis methods to help design the final projects. For the final project, students apply the engineering design process and collaborate with a team to create a prototype for green technology. Potential green energy sources investigated may include wind, human power, waste heat, solar, cascade utilizations, thermoelectrics, and organic energy.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.